2019 Best & Brightest: Benjamin Gerber, Tulane University (Freeman)

Benjamin Gerber

Tulane University, A.B. Freeman School of Business

“Passionate about helping others achieve their goals. Focused on being my best self. Tom Brady.”

Fun fact about yourself: Mardi Gras is my favorite holiday.

Hometown: Brookline, MA

High School: Brookline High School

Major: Finance (Energy Specialization)

Minor: Mathematics

Favorite Business Course: My favorite course I have taken in the business school was The Aaron Selber Jr. Distressed Debt Course taught by Michael Yest. The class focused on the investment world of distressed debt, a niche market not often taught in universities. They brought in a lot of talented professionals that work for Distressed Debt Hedge Funds, and I learned both the theory behind DD investing and also how it actually works. There was also a semester-long project to pitch a DD investment to a panel of judges. My team ended up winning the entire project by pitching an investment structured around shorting the Convertible Debt of The Vitamin Shoppe! Yest is a fantastic professor and kept the lectures informative, fun, and collaborative.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • President of Green Bull Investment Group
  • Tulane Admissions Intern and Tour Guide
  • Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity
  • Distinguished Scholar Recipient
  • Dean’s List Every Semester
  • Intramural Soccer (5x Champion)
  • I helped organize multiple events on campus to raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness

Where have you interned during your college career?

BMO Capital Markets; Energy Investment Banking Analyst; Houston, TX
Harvard Business School Alumni Angels; Angel Investor Analyst; New Orleans, LA
Boston Private Bank and Trust; Loan Servicing Intern; Boston, MA
Via Global Advisors; Private Wealth Management Intern; Boston, MA
Tulane Admissions; Admissions Intern; New Orleans, LA
Tulane Career Center; Intern; New Orleans, LA

Where will you be working after graduation? I received a full-time offer to go back to BMO Capital Markets in Houston, TX after I graduate to work as an Energy Investment Banking Analyst in their Energy Coverage Group

What company do you admire most? I have admired Netflix for a long time because of the way they have adapted to changes in consumer preferences and have successfully broken into new markets like creating new content. They have received backlash for their intense culture, but I admire the way they stay competitive and emphasize innovation and success.

Who is your favorite professor? My favorite professor at Tulane is Peter Ricchiuti, who has run the Burkenroad Reports course for 25 years. When I took Burkenroad, my team and I wrote a report on Seacor Marine, a marine support vessel operator for offshore oil and gas companies. We worked closely with Professor Ricchiuti as we constructed our report, and I admired his passion for teaching students as well as his love of telling jokes. I constantly found myself laughing throughout his lectures! I also had the pleasure of working closely with Peter when I was President of Green Bull because he was the faculty advisor for my club. I remember one day sitting down with him and going through hundreds of alumni contact sheets to find good options for guest speakers at the club. Not only is Peter a fun and inspiring professor, he also has a massive network and has helped many of my friends find internships and jobs in the finance industry.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? My favorite part about my experience in the business school was all the classes that featured a form of competition and real-world experience alongside the class material. Besides the Distressed Debt class and competition, I also took a Hedge Funds class, where we competed in groups to design our own hedge fund strategy and pitch it to portfolio managers. I worked with a manager to create an activist fund that focused on small-cap public companies and to use social media optimization software to support corporate governance changes. I am also currently taking the Darwin Fenner Student Managed Fund course, where I am covering the info technology sector to help manage $1.7 million in Tulane’s Endowment.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? I believe collaboration and communicating effectively is the most important lesson I have learned. From working on team projects in classes to running a six-person executive board for Green Bull, I have learned that to implement changes correctly and to get good work done, it is a lot easier when everyone is working together. It can even be as simple as creating a group chat or assigning specific goals and jobs at the beginning of a project.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? If someone is planning on majoring in a business-related field, I think it is important they take advantage of more than just the classes that are offered. Joining and actively participating in an extracurricular activity related to your major is a fantastic way to learn more about the subject, grow your network with students who have similar interests, and gives you a competitive advantage in class.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? I was surprised by the number of upper-classmen and alumni who were eager to help me be successful. I had been given great advice to find a mentor in college, and by the end of my first semester, I had multiple people I could go to with questions regarding finance and my career goals. As I went through the investment banking recruiting process, I met a lot of great Tulane alums who helped me navigate the interviews and introduced me to their peers. I learned quickly not to be embarrassed to ask for help and that people want to help.

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying… Chemistry! I am already a math minor and I always found the chemistry classes in high school interesting. I like learning the way different solutions interact and I enjoyed the experiments in class.”

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? I took a class on basic finance freshmen year of high school and I learned a lot about the stock market and people like Warren Buffett. After I won the class stock simulation competition, I continued to stay interested in finance and wanted to pursue a degree where I could learn more about it.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? While my courses and internships have had a positive impact on my college experience, I am most proud of the friendships I have built at Tulane. I have been able to balance my academics, extracurricular activities, and jobs because of the support of my friends.

Which classmate do you most admire? My good friend Sam Ferris has been preparing to go to PA school after finishing her undergraduate degree and has studied extremely hard for four years to achieve this goal. She will be graduating with an almost perfect GPA in May, and I have always been impressed with her passion for wanting to be a Physician Assistant and her focus and drive towards her studies.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I want to thank my two siblings. As the oldest child, I feel like I am constantly setting the path for their futures and setting a bar that they need to beat. I hope that my hard work inspires them to be competitive and out-do my success.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? I have always wanted to visit Japan and I hope to travel there after I graduate. I also am a huge Boston sports fan and I would love to throw a football with Tom Brady!

What are your hobbies? I love spending time with my friends and exploring New Orleans. I like to go to the park next to the Mississippi River and throw around a football, play pick-up and intramural soccer, or workout at the gym. I have also just started doing yoga and meditation with my friends. I also love going to the music festivals and concerts in NOLA, and try to go to Voodoo, Buku and Jazz Fest every year.

What made Benjamin such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2019?  

“Ben Gerber was one of the only juniors I had in my senior level class, the Selber Course on Distressed Debt. Not only did he hold his own with seniors and grad students, but his team won the investment pitch competition that was held at the Burkenroad Conference. Industry professionals chose his team’s distressed debt investment as the most well-researched and best-presented idea. I’m super proud to have had Ben in my class and expect great things from him after graduation. He’s an impressive young man who brings both intellectual curiosity and strong social and communication skills to the table. Look for him to go far.”

Michael Yest
Senior Professor of Practice


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